TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 4:7-10
“grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift” EPH 4:7
It was a warm summer midweek night and I was sitting in a Belfast church I’d never been to before, the Iron Hall, listening to a preacher I’d never heard before, Dr Rex Mathie. He had come from South Africa to teach in various churches night after night all around Northern Ireland. I was also hearing a message on a person I honestly had never heard specifically mentioned before in my 18 years growing up in the Plymouth Brethren: the person of the Holy Spirit. I could probably still tell you the core of the message some 34 years later!
This is the same Holy Spirit who gives gifts to the church so that the body of Christ is built-up. In verse 11, Paul will specifically highlight five ‘grace’ offices in the Church but elsewhere in the New Testament, there are lists of ‘grace’ gifts: gifts of the Holy Spirit.
It’s really key in understanding spiritual gifts, and even fivefold offices, to know that they are a ‘charis’ - a grace gift - rather than a title, something you complete a course on, study for, or even a position one is voted into.
In 25 years of local church leadership and ministry, I’ve seen a lot of round pegs in square holes resulting in frustration at a lack of fruit in ministry and ungodly desires for titles and status, but then I’ve also seen and experienced first-hand the amazing fruit and ease when someone is ministering in their grace-zone. There are few things better when you’ve hit your sweet spot, when everything is flowing with ease and whatever you put your hand to seems to thrive. This is your grace zone. Equally, there’s nothing worse when you’re out of it.
For a season taking school assemblies, for me, was an absolute nightmare. I had lost my confidence and, in the end, I didn’t even want to go into primary schools and sent feeble excuses as to why I couldn’t take the assemblies. It was almost a depressive place but with help, I managed to get back in the saddle with a level of competency. It’s a whole different ball game when you hit the zone for which you’re graced. Put me in front of a school full of children and my stomach is churning but speaking to a large conference full of leaders, I thrive and come alive. There’s life, joy, fulfilment and fruit.
So where are you graced?
Sometimes we do struggle to find our grace-zones because, at heart, we’re servants and have laid down our lives for the Gospel and find ourselves serving in many different areas. We’ve learned skills and how to be competent, however, God does also have a special area to which he has graced you.
If you don’t know what area that is then let me share with you a secret. The people around you, in your life group and church, will often be those who can call-out your destiny through telling you where they see you are graced and gifted.
Don’t stop being a servant but do also ask those around you, particularly those who are modelling a healthy and fruitful Christian life, to share with you where they most often see the grace of God flowing in and through you.
• Read Ephesians 4:7-10
• Ask those close to you where they see your grace zone.
• Pray that you’ll be able to devote more time and energy into the areas where God has called and graced you to serve.